PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday paid tribute to Zimbabweans for collectively warding off the onslaught from the country’s detractors expressed through foreign-funded opposition parties when they emphatically voted for Zanu PF during the August 23-24 harmonised elections.
The President who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), said this while presiding over the graduation ceremony and 38th commissioning pass-out parade of the Regular Officer Cadet (ROC) Course Number 3/38/2022 at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru.
He said the victory was a successful defence of the country’s independence, sovereignty and freedom by Zimbabweans against the illegal regime change agenda.
“It is commendable that this military training academy continues to churn out young well-trained officers to serve within the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. May I, at the outset, highlight that today’s event is not happening in an isolated environment, but against the backdrop of the successful defence of our independence, sovereignty and freedom in the recently held 2023 Harmonised General Elections,” he said.
“This saw our people freely and peacefully exercise their democratic right to vote. In doing so, we collectively warded off the onslaught from detractors expressed through their foreign-funded opposition parties.”
President Mnangagwa was elected for his second term in office after getting 2 350 711 votes which translates to 52,6 percent of the vote to beat his closest challenger, CCC’s Mr Nelson Chamisa who got 1 967 343 (44 percent) of the vote.
He said the victory of the Zanu PF, the people’s party entails joy and great optimism as well as a weighty sense of responsibility upon citizens.
President Mnangagwa said the ZDF is a “People’s Force”, a dependable, agile, hard-hitting force, capable of containing any threat and effectively defending our nation.
“As the new officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, it is critically important to remain alive to your broader role as part of a vital cog in the ongoing national socio-economic modernisation and development of our great country,” he said.
The President said the ZDF remains integral in its quest to realise sustainable regional, continental and international peace and security.
“I, therefore, call upon you all, as you begin this important journey, to always exhibit high levels of professionalism, discipline, diligence and defence capabilities which have become synonymous with our country’s military,” he said.
“I commend you, the graduands for your bold decision to pursue a career in the defence and protection of our motherland, Zimbabwe.”
President Mnangagwa said the bold decision taken by the officers to serve in the ZDF is a clear testimony of their patriotism, loyalty, dedication and commitment to the country.
He also paid condolences to the families of four cadets who passed on during the training.
“On a sad note, it is most unfortunate that four candidates passed on during training. May I express my heartfelt condolences to their families, relatives, friends and colleagues for the sad loss of these young lives. May their dear souls continue to rest in eternal peace,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Platoon Commanders are charged with the responsibility of protecting Zimbabwe, its people, the national interests, territorial integrity and upholding the Constitution.
The Regular Officer Cadet Course Number 3/38/22 went through a demanding 21 months of training, divided into three phases and designed to mould them into competent and professional officers on basic military skills, conventional warfare and low-intensity operations.
The subjects covered included Drill, Skill at Arms, Map Reading, Field Crawft, Voice Procedure, Command and Leadership, Administration, Military Law, Law of Armed Conflict, Conventions of Service Writing and Civil-Military Relations, among other aspects.
“The training syllabus was tailor-made to adequately equip you, the graduands, with the requisite regimental, tactical and administrative skills to prepare you for service as regular officers in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” said President Mnangagwa.
The officers also graduated with diplomas in Military Training and Education offered in association with the Midlands State University.
“I trust that the additional curriculum equipped you with knowledge of contemporary military aspects that will assist as you progress with your military career. Further, the Civil-Military Relations package acquainted cadets with the knowledge of our country’s rich heritage and history,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I challenge you, the new officers, to nurture the values of patriotism, loyalty, discipline and unity which form the firm foundation which defines us as a nation.”
President Mnangagwa said the country has a long and rich liberation war legacy and implored the military officers to play their part to promote, defend and pass on to the next generations.
“Building on such knowledge, you as officers within the Defence Forces, carry the weighty duty of defending the gains of our hard-won independence, people, national interests, resources and territorial integrity at all costs,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the officers’ visit to the liberation war shrines at Chimoio in Mozambique and Freedom Camp in Zambia during their training was aimed at consolidating their knowledge of the sacrifices made by the many sons and daughters of the soil towards the attainment of independence, freedom and democracy that the country is enjoying today.
“As you graduate today at this Academy, you are joining a unique and rare breed of military officers who have chosen to sacrifice their lives to serve their beloved nation. You now belong to a revered and strategic national organisation that has the signature of professionalism within the region and beyond,” said President Mnangagwa.
During the parade, the officers took the oath of allegiance to uphold the Constitution of Zimbabwe and abide by the rules, regulations and attendant statutes that govern the ZDF.
“I challenge you to serve with honour, courage and integrity. Indiscipline is not tolerated across the rank and file of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” said the President.
“Training is a continuous process hence, the Officer Cadet training course is only the beginning of numerous training programmes that will be undertaken during your service in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. I urge you to work hard and attend as many training courses towards enhancing preparedness for a broader array of duties and assignments.”
The President said yesterday’s event was another achievement in the history of the ZMA.
The ROC Course Number 3/38/22 commenced training on 10 January last year with an initial enrolment of 240 candidates, comprising 177 males and 63 females, drawn from all 10 provinces of our country.
A total of 153 officer cadets with 113 males and 40 females successfully passed out yesterday.
A total of 136 officer cadets were at the parade, while 17 of them are attending courses in various specialisations in Russian and Mozambique.